High-fat diet protects brain of new-born

Contrary to general belief, UC Irvine researchers have found that high-fat diet protects the brain cells of new-borns from damage caused by prolonged seizures. The finding may lead to new strategies to prevent brain injury in adults.

The study conducted on rats suggest that the high-fat diet of new-borns, and the related increased production of a specific protein, protects their brain cells from damage that otherwise may accompany prolonged seizures.

The findings, published in Annals of Neurology, Dr. Tallie Z Baram and her team found very high levels of a protein called uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) in the brains of new-born rats.

UCP2 production is stimulated by fatty acids, which are the products of dietary fat metabolism. This high level of UCP2 may provide the protection from brain damage seen in infants who have seizures.

In the mature brain, seizures and other trauma kill and damage nerve cells by interfering with structures called mitochondria.


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